Under the new arrangement requested of us by BBO, our games will now be $1.50 and this will be in line with what other national organisations will be asked to charge. 50c per game will go directly to our clubs and we are intending to use this to reduce the affiliation fees when they become due in August.
These games are currently run at 2pm, 3.30pm, 7.30pm and 9pm seven days a week. We have a guide to starting playing on BBO available and so too do BBO themselves. Results from these games can be found on the Bridgebase site.
While the COVID-19 outbreak prevents our members from playing bridge in clubs, we will be providing a number of online games on BBO. Having started on Tue 17th Mar, we are now running a 12-board game at 7.30pm and another at 9pm as well as afternoon ones at 2pm and 3.30pm. We hope this will replicate a 24-board game in a club with a break halfway, although you can of course take advantage of the flexibility it offers and just play 12 boards if you like. These games are match-pointed pairs, so you will need a partner, although there will be a partnership desk if you have not organised to play with anyone, or you could pay to have a robot as a partner.
The first thing you should do if you are not already a BBO player is to register with BBO and create a login that you can share with your partner so that you can identify each other. It would probably be wise to practice a bit in one of the Casual games that go on constantly, to become familiar with how the software works. One idea might be for four of you to arrange to play together, with one of you setting up a virtual table and inviting the other three. That way you will all understand your situation and be tolerant of each other!
Once you have practiced a bit, or if you are already a BBO player, you will be ready to play in the EBU match-pointed pairs games. They will cost $1.50 each from 25th Mar and EBU master points will be issued (we would like them to be processed for NGS, but this may not be possible immediately for practical reasons). You will need to purchase some BB$ before playing in one of these tournaments, although you will find there are some free games run by other groups available on BBO. BB$ are purchased using a credit card by clicking on the blue BB$ link at the top right of the screen when you first log in. Note that although BB$1 = $1, your credit card may charge an exchange fee and if you buy them from another organisation (Apple, Google) they may add a surcharge, so it is best to buy them from the BBO website and not using the BBO app).
When you have some BB$, you will need to log in up to half an hour before the game starts, click on Competitive and then All Tournaments. You will see a list, ordered by start time, from which you will be able to select the correct EBU game. You will be asked to identify your partner, or join the partnership desk to find one. From there you will be taken to a table to start play, and after every round you will automatically be re-seated at the correct table – no need to move around and remember to take your belongings with you!
One final thing to note is that BBO games work using self-alerting, so do have a quick look at the information we have provided about that. Paul Gipson has written a guide to BBO here, which you may find useful. There is also further information about the BBO rules here. Remember it is important to be friendly and social - just like at your normal club.
Enjoy your games and please be tolerant and patient with those who are finding their way around online bridge for the first time.